Marijuana - Fact and Fiction
edited: Thursday, September 05, 2002
By Karen Phillips
Posted: Sunday, April 14, 2002
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Many argue that marijuana should be legalized. What do you think?
Medicine Woman Herbals
Marijuana – Fact and Fiction
I am sure that many of you have heard all the arguments about this plant, both pro and con. Many think that this plant should be legalized for medicinal purposes. In recent times the question has been put before our lawmakers. Much to the dismay of many, it was decided that marijuana should not be legalized because of possible long-term use side effects and the fact that our FDA has not had the opportunity to fully evaluate these side effects. I will attempt to help separate fact from fiction in regard to this plant.
This plant is native to Mexico and is considered an alien to the U.S. It is an annual, which attains a height of 5-14 feet. Since the plant is native to Mexico, the taller plants grow in areas with more sunlight (south). The leaves are palmate with 5-7 lobes. The leaflets are lance-shaped and toothed on the edges. The flowers are greenish and are covered with a sticky residue.
Even though this plant seems to have originated in Mexico, it seems to thrive in the U.S. and is illegally cultivated throughout the U.S. The leaves are harvested, dried, and illegally smoked, producing an intoxicating effect on the user much like alcohol. Therefore, users of this plant are intoxicated and should not drive or operate machinery.
It is used legitimately to treat glaucoma and also relieves nausea following chemotherapy. It is much maligned, but is potentially a very useful medicinal plant. It has been used to relieve pain, even the severe pain of migraine headaches. In the case of migraine headaches, it seems to relieve not only the pain, but also the other symptoms [i.e. nausea, photosensitivity (sensitivity to light), and phonosensitivity (sensitivity to sound).] It has also been used successfully as an anticonvulsant and relaxant and has shown positive results in calming ADHD cases.
Recent studies conducted in Sydney, Australia determined that long-time marijuana use causes mental decline in users. Long-time, heavy marijuana users may eventually see their memory and attention span go up in smoke according to this recent research. Tests have shown that long-time users performed more poorly on tests of memory and attention than shorter-term users and non-users. This could be due to a marijuana residue left in the brain, which causes a change in the way that brain receptors operate. This effect has sometimes been referred to as a “brain cloud” and it can continue to affect the user for an indefinite period of time. To my knowledge, there is no allopathic treatment for this “brain cloud”, but it has been successfully treated herbally with a blend of Sweet Basil (Ocimum basilicum) and Sacred Basil.
I hope that I have helped to sort the facts from the fiction in regard to this plant. Further questions will be addressed through the Ask an Herbalist link on my web page at http://www.grannyherb.com/. You will also find a complete product line of pure extracts, including the herbs discussed above.
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